A Kurunjang man who stabbed a teenager at Woodgrove Shopping Centre two years ago, in what was described as an “excessive” act of self-defence, has been released on a community corrections order despite being assessed as a “high risk” of re-offending.

Athel Athel, 21, was found guilty last November of one count of theft and one count of affray following an incident on July 30, 2015.

At sentencing last month, County Court Judge Rachelle Lewitan said that at the time of the offence, Athel was on four sets of bail for offences he committed while on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

She described Athel’s prospects of rehabilitation as “somewhat guarded”.

“Community Correctional Services has assessed you as being at a high-risk of re-offending. Nevertheless, you are considered a suitable candidate for a community correction order,” she said.

She sentenced Athel to a 12-month community corrections order, a $100 fine (for the theft charge) and 188 days detention he had already served.

The County Court was told Athel was walking along Coburns Road towards the shopping centre when he noticed a group of teenagers, with whom he was previously friends, in a white BMW.

One of the teenagers, armed with a baseball bat, got out of the car and chased Athel for a “short distance” towards the shopping centre, but stopped when Athel crossed to the other side of the road.

As the car drove past, Athel picked up a small rock and threw it towards the BMW.

The court heard Athel had told police he stole a knife so he would have something to keep the teenagers at bay.

The judge said Athel and the three teenagers started fighting in the shopping centre carpark “in the middle of the afternoon with several civilian witnesses, including young children” nearby. Two of the teenagers swung baseball bats towards Athel, with one of the bats breaking on one of Athel’s arms.

“You were fighting back,” Judge Lewitan said. “You used the knife to penetrate the back of the [victim’s] right thigh, causing [him] to fall to the ground.”

The victim was taken to a nearby medical centre, where he was treated by paramedics and later transported to hospital.